Small habits, big changes
These little steps can help you stick to your New Year resolution. Try following these tips for a better you soon
Since a little more than a month is left of this year, we wonder what happened to the New Year's resolutions that were taken at the beginning of this year. Some of us may have succeeded but many of us may have given up on our goals too soon. Here's the good news--you can get back on track next year and its super easy. Resolutions fail due to various reasons, but we tend to assume that failure means it's over. Instead, a healthier approach is to adopt Stephen Guise's philosophy of Mini Habits. It's a simple way to improve yourself without the pressure of resolutions weighing you down or making you feel bad about yourself.
WHY MINI HABITS ARE BETTER
A new year's resolution is overwhelming. Your mind will plot out a huge goal spanning across an entire year, with all the many milestones you will need to hit. Once your initial excitement subsides, it's daunting.
Mini habits, on the other hand, fit into your life as it is now. According to BJ Fogg of the Persuasive Tech Lab at Stanford University, researchers have found that one of the most efficient ways to build a new habit is to stack it on top of an existing one.
Done consistently over a long time, these mini habits can spark massive personal change. But before you start, it'll be helpful to know a few simple requirements for what constitutes a mini habit:
1 Reduce resistance to a minimum:
If a mini habit requires you to do several steps, it might not be the right one. It should be easy to take action. It's the tipping point of behavior change.
2 Don't excercise your willpower:
The willpower muscle takes time to build, so don't try to do that while inculcating a new habit. Just make sure your new regular task is something you will do happily and naturally, without complaining.
3 Start as small as possible:
Want to get into the habit of working out every day? Just do one pushup daily. Just one. Nothing more. And then build on it.The one-pushup challenge has shown how small habits can lead to large changes.
SET A POSITIVE PASSWORD
It might sound silly, but the password you enter daily can change your life. Mauricio Estrella found this through a simple experiment when he was going through a rough divorce. He wrote about his experiences, noting how positive passwords like “Forgive her“ and “Quit Smoking“ led to dramatic positive lifestyle changes. You should still make a secure, unbreakable password, but do it in a way where its message is a positive change that you want to bring about. Ideally, use this as a password for something you access every day, like your email or your Facebook account.
DITCH FACEBOOK AND BE POSITIVE
Speaking of Facebook, it's well documented at this point that Facebook can make you sad. The social network is a highlights reel of everyone's best moments, and when you compare that to your larger life, the unfair comparison can make you feel low. It might be wise to ditch Facebook for a more positive influence, at least on your computer. The point is to avoid social network's negative impact and turn your existing bad habit into a positive mini habit.
DRINK MORE WATER
When Matthew Hughes quit caffeine and increased his productivity, he made a smart move by replacing addictive coffee with a pint of water -no more, no less, every hour on the dot. If you aren't getting the daily intake of water you should, then it's time to make that change.
WAKE UP EARLY, GRADUALLY
Waking up early isn't easy for everyone. So we have various yawn-stifling alarms to get out of bed, but a drastic change in schedule can be hard. Instead, make it a mini habit and ease yourself in.
Try something as simple as setting your alarm one minute earlier every week. So if you're an 8am riser and want to get to 7am, start with 7.59am for the first week. Then go back one more minute to 7.58am for the second week. Make it easy on yourself, sleep in on weekends. By the end of the year, you'll be at 7.08am.And in another two months, you'll be waking up at 7am without feeling like it's a drastic change.
READ MORE WITH “SEVEN-PAGE WEEK“
Everyone wants to make reading a habit, but we don't seem to be able to find the time to do it. Well, here's an easy mini habit to help you start reading more. We can call it the “seven-page week“.
Every Monday, read one page of a book. On Tuesday, continue and read two pages of that book. Three on Wednesday, four on Thursday, five on Friday, six on Saturday, and seven on Sunday. Then go back to just one page of the same book on Monday. Keep up this cycle till you finish the book.With this, you are making it easy to read on work days, and building momentum towards the weekend when you can relax and read more pages at your own pace.
START WRITING REGULARLY
Everyone thinks they have a novel in them. And they start out strong, banging out on the keyboard with great enthusiasm. Slowly but surely, the inspirational flame starts to flicker and the momentum dies out.Don't let it happen to you and take your book from idea to final draft.
LEARN TO ENJOY LIFE AND BE GRATEFUL
Complaints come easy, but being thankful is difficult.Gratitude isn't inherent for many of us. It needs to be reflected upon, and appreciated through practice.Mindful meditation can help in learning this.
ORGANIZE ONE THING EVERY WEEK
It could be tech, it could be non-tech, but just adopt the mini habit of tidying up and streamlining one thing every week.Soon you'll have a less disruptive life.
(This article was first published in http:www.makeuseof.com)
Mihir Patkar MM25NOV16